Ask A Linguist For October 1997 - December 1997
[Subject Prev][Subject Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Subject Index][Thread Index]

Re: Thanks!

> Dear Ms Chung,
> Thank you very much indeed for responding to my query.
> I  realize that there are idiosyncratic uses, styles
> and approaches. My query was if there was any
> reasoning, justification, or explanation to this
> count-noncount variation with the -ache suffix. Your
> answer, I am afraid,  has not provided me with the
> information I am after.  Thanks anyway
> Fouad Khalil

To Fouad Hassan:

	Sorry - I'll have another go at it.

	My opinion: 'toothache' is a countable noun because it is a
specific, localized ailment, just like a 'headache' or 'sore back.'
'Heartache' is a generalized, overall condition rather than a specific
pain in one localized place, so it is uncountable; compare 'I feel
*discomfort*.' and 'I'm experiencing *nausea*.' both of which are

	Hope this is close to what you're after.

					  Karen Steffen Chung		
					  National Taiwan University


[Search the Archives] [Ask A Question] [Thread Index] [Date Index]
[Ask A Linguist Homepage] [LINGUIST List Homepage]